Monday, February 28, 2011

Homosexuality is not a health rights issue, says Malawi Health Equity Network

President Bingu wa Mutharika: Has won MHEN's support on anti-gay stance
The Malawi Health Equity Network (MHEN) has quashed observations that homosexuals are a health concern, describing health rights advocacy for gays and lesbians as a "bizzare and strange phenomenon" as such matters are anathema to Malawi culture.
MHEN National Cordinator, Martha Kwataine, told Zachimalawi at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre that she and her organisation would do nothing to advocate for health rights among Malawian homosexuals.
Kwataine's stance contradicts revelations by Dr. Mary Shawa, Secretary for Nutrition, HIV and AIDS in the Office of the President and Cabinet, that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member state has registered a 25 per cent HIV and AIDS prevalence rate among gays.
Shawa said, however, that the HIV and AIDS prevalence percentage points among Malawian lesbians was yet to be ascertained.
According to Malawi's top nutritionist, the country takes homosexuals as one of the most vulnerable groups to HIV and AIDS, and that, as such, government has always taken their health needs into consideration.
MHEN: Wait a minute; not in Malawi
Malawi has in the past come into conflict with the Global Fund for HIV and AIDS and Tuberculosis over government's health efforts among homosexuals.
The Global Fund argues that, since homosexuality is criminalised in Malawi, gays and lesbians cannot have 'free' access to health resources, and are either more likely to die from preventable ailments or die faster than necesary as their sexual disposition elienates them from society benefits like Antiretroviral drugs.
The Global Fund recently rejected Malawi's proposal for further further, citing, among other reasons, criminalisation of homosexuality and lack of transparency and accountability on previous funding.
Kwataine, speaking on the link between homosexuality and health rights, denied that there was "any relationship" between "gays and health rights".
"Homosexuality is not a health issue; in fact, we have made it clear at MHEN that we support President Bingu wa Mutharika's anti-gay stance. Malawi is a God-fearing nation," said Kwataine.
The health rights advocate added: "In fact, I wll never comment on gay issues because these are evil issue. Remember what happened to Sodom? It was because of homosexuality. Let me be honest: I am a born again Christian, and my conscience is against anything to do with homosexuals- either as a health issue or otherwise."
Kwataine bashed donors for withholding financial assistance to Malawi on the basis that the country criminalises acts of homosexuality.
"Let those donors go to hell; in fact, Malawi can stand on her own, and fund all her domestic needs. Don't we have a fuel levy? Are we not over-collecting on domestic taxes? That means we can stand on our own. To hell with gay issues," said Kwataine.

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